How do we get good at something? Practice it enough with some consistency, talent, and passion, and you will be good at it. So, what about doing something that we are not sure if we are good at it? For example, what if I wanted to write a book? I have no idea if I am good at writing books, but I think I have a good idea for a book. What should I do? Just start. Start writing the book. Start writing it today. Do something now. Critics will tell you that you are doing it wrong, and that is ok; at least you are doing something. When you are feeling unsure about doing something that will be good for you (and others), just start it. Now.
Two sides of your attitude
Your attitude is much like a coin. When you flip a coin, it either lands heads up or tails up. It can't land with both up. That is impossible! It is also impossible for you to be grateful and complain about something at the same time. We must decide which we will be: Grateful or Ungrateful; thankful or complaining. YOU are the one making the choice in EVERY circumstance. The notion of being grateful for all your circumstances seems difficult at first, but when you practice gratitude, you begin to see the positives in every situation; even those that seem to have no positives in them. We all know that person who complains about EVERYTHING, don't we? Can you think of someone who always seems grateful? Be that person! Be the person who finds what is RIGHT with a set of circumstances, rather than the bandwagon-jumping complainer. Another nice by-product of being grateful is that it leads to more happiness, and we could all use more happiness! Wouldn't you agree?
Listening vs hearing...
We are told many things during our primary, middle, and secondary years of school. Most of which fails to "stick" or become a part of our consciousness. We will very likely say, "I've never heard that," when, in fact, we had heard it SEVERAL TIMES. What makes some of this information stick with us, while most of it goes in one ear and out the other? The answer to this mystery is timing and maturity. We will listen to something if it seems that we need the information immediately, (for today) or if it is a matter of survival. (Social survival is real, right?). Another time is when we have matured enough to listen, and I mean listen, not just to hear something. Our country is in need of some positive social change, and the most important requirement is that people listen to each other by being intentional to listen and focus our attention on what we hear.
The Knowing vs Doing Gap
When somebody says, "I know" following an action that indeed demonstrated that they did not know, we often think (and sometimes aloud), "Well if you knew, why did you do it that way?" If knowledge was the lone key to success, we would all be happy, skinny, and rich, right? There are hundreds of books with the tagline, "how to achieve your dreams by reading this book." After you read the book, you're no better off than before, so what is missing? ACTION. You have to DO SOMETHING about your current circumstances in order for them to change. And let me assure you that if you want BIG change, you WILL be faced with some obstacles. You will be challenged, and you will be discouraged. If you continue on your path, you will discover success directly on the other side of several failed attempts, and a pile of determination and grit. Keep moving, and stay focused on why you wanted a change in the first place.
Dan and Amy Allen are Educators and Advocates for Students.